26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
September 25, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.







O God, who manifest your almighty power
above all by pardoning and showing mercy,
bestow, we pray, your grace abundantly upon us
and make those hastening to attain your promises
heirs to the treasures of heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

First Reading Am 6:1a, 4-7

Thus says the LORD the God of hosts:
   Woe to the complacent in Zion!
Lying upon beds of ivory,
   stretched comfortably on their couches,
   they eat lambs taken from the flock,
   and calves from the stall!
Improvising to the music of the harp,
   like David, they devise their own accompaniment.
They drink wine from bowls
   and anoint themselves with the best oils;
   yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!
Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile,
   and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

Second Reading 1 Tm 6:11-16

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
   devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called
   when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I charge you before God, who gives life to all things,
   and before Christ Jesus,
   who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession,
   to keep the commandment without stain or reproach
   until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
   that the blessed and only ruler
   will make manifest at the proper time,
   the King of kings and Lord of lords,
   who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light,
   and whom no human being has seen or can see.
To him be honor and eternal power. Amen. 

Acclamation before the Gospel  cf. 2 Cor 8:9


Gospel Lk 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:

“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
   and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
   who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
   that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
   he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
   and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
   he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
   and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
   for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied,
   ‘My child, remember that you received
   what was good during your lifetime
   while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
   but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
   to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
   from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father,
   send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers,
   so that he may warn them,
   lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
   but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
   neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’” 

Reflection Questions

Where is the "wanton revelry" in our society most evident?

How do you "compete well for the faith?

Who's at your door?

Catena Nova

So then, you rich who have wisdom, apply yourselves to this business… Why let yourselves be transfixed by diamonds and emeralds, by houses that fire devours, time destroys, or earthquakes throw down? Aspire for nothing other than to dwell in the heavens and reign with God.  (St. Clement of Alexandria) 

You, who think that you have a healthy hand, beware lest it is withered by greed or by sacrilege. Hold it out often. Hold it out to the poor person who begs you. Hold it out to help your neighbor, to give protection to a widow, to snatch from harm one whom you see subjected to unjust insult. Hold it out to God for your sins. (St. Ambrose of Milan)

Was that poor man welcomed by the angels solely on account of his poverty?  And the rich man, was he delivered up to torment by fault of his wealth alone? No.   Let us clearly understand that it was humility that was honored in the poor man and pride condemned in the rich. This is the proof, briefly, that it was not his wealth but his pride for which the rich man deserved his punishment.   So then, the poor man was carried into the bosom of Abraham, yet Scripture says of Abraham that he had much gold and silver and was rich on earth (Gn 13:2).  If every rich man is sent into torment, how is it that Abraham could precede the poor man so as to welcome him into his bosom?  It was because, in the midst of his wealth, Abraham was poor, humble, respectful and obedient to all God’s commands.  He held his riches in so little esteem that, when God asked it of him, he consented to offer in sacrifice the son for whom these riches were destined (Gn 22:4). Learn to be poor and needy, then, whether you possess something in this world or whether you don’t possess anything.   Because we find beggars full of pride and rich people who confess their sins.   “God resists the proud” whether they are covered with silk or with rags but “he gives grace to the humble” (Jas 4:6) whether or not, they have possessions in this world.   God looks at what is within, it is there He assesses, there He examines. (St. Augustine of Hippo)

Have you ever asked why the rich person consigned to hell saw Lazarus in Abraham’s arms? Why wasn’t Lazarus in some other righteous person’s arms? Th reason is that Abraham was characterized by his hospitableness! The sight of Abraham was meant as a correction for that rich person because his inhospitableness brought him to hell. Recall the story of how Abraham actually ran after a stranger passing by and almost dragged him to his tent so he could show him hospitality. By contrast the rich man ignored a poor and sick person lying right at his door. He had within his grasp a great treasure, the very opportunity to win salvation! He ignored it day after day. He could have helped but he didn’t…. This is true for you and me! If you are eager to welcome famous or distinguished people you don’t do anything out of the ordinary…. Throughout the Gospel Christ speaks a great deal about “little people” and those of no social importance or standing. That’s how Abraham conducted himself too. He didn’t ask who travelers were or where they came from. He didn’t act like us! He simply welcomed people. (St. John Chrysostom)

“Abraham was very rich,” Scripture tells us (Gn 13:2)… My brethren, Abraham wasn’t rich for himself but for the poor, rather than keeping hold of his fortune, he intended to share it…This man, who was himself a stranger, did not hesitate to do all he could so that the stranger might not feel himself to be a stranger.  Living in a tent, he was unable to let a passer-by remain without shelter.  Perpetual traveller, he unfailingly welcomed the travellers who came his way…  Far from taking his ease in God’s bounty, he knew himself called to spread it abroad, he used it to protect the oppressed, set prisoners free, even to snatch those about to die from their fate (Gn 14:14)…  Abraham did not sit but remained standing before the stranger he had received.   He was not his guest’s host but made himself his servant.   Forgetting that he was master in his own home, he himself brought the food and, concerned that it should be carefully prepared, called on his wife.   Where he himself was concerned he relied entirely on his servants, but for the stranger he had received he thought it barely enough to entrust it to his wife’s skill. (St. Peter Chrysologus)

Like the rich man who loved a life of pleasure
I, too, have loved pleasures that pass away
With this animal body of mine,
In the pleasures of that fool.

And from so many and such great blessings
That You have so freely given me
I have not paid back the tenth
From Your own gifts. 

But, out of everything under my roof,
Gathered from earth and sky and sea,
I believed Your numberless blessings
To be my own possession.

Nothing of these have I given to the poor,
Nor set anything aside for his needs:
Neither food for the hungry
Nor covering for the naked body,

Neither shelter for the homeless
Nor abode for the foreign guest,
Nor visit to the sick
Nor even concern for the prisoner (cf. Mt 25:31 f.).

I was not saddened for the sorrow
Of the one cast down by his burdens,
Nor shared the joy of the joyful
But burned with jealousy against him.

All of them were another Lazarus, (…)
They lay outside at my gate; …
Yet I, deaf to their appeal,
Never gave them the crumbs from my table. … 

The dogs of your Law outside
Comforted them, at least with their tongues;
Yet I, who listened to Your commandment,
Wounded the one who bore Your likeness with my tongue (Mt 25:45). (…)

Yet only grant me repentance here below
That I may make reparation for my sins, …
That these tears may extinguish the blazing furnace
With its burning flames. …

And, instead of acting like the merciless,
Set merciful compassion within me,
That, by showing mercy to the poor,
I may obtain Your mercy. (St Nerses Chnorhali)

The parable is not primarily a moral tale about riches and poverty – though, in this chapter, it should be heard in that way as well. If that’s all it was, some might say that it was better to let the poor stay poor, since they will have a good time in the future life. That sort of argument has been used too often by the careless rich for us to want anything to do with it. No; there is something more going on here. The story, after all, doesn’t add anything new to the general folk belief about fortunes being reversed in a future life. If it’s a parable, that means once again that we should take it as picture-language about something that was going on in Jesus’ own work….Jesus, we recall, has been criticized for welcoming outcasts and sinners; now it appears that what he’s doing is putting into practice in the present world what, it was widely believed, would happen in the future one. ‘On earth as it is in heaven’ remains his watchword. The age to come must be anticipated in the present. The point is then that the Pharisees, being themselves lovers of money, were behaving to the people Jesus was welcoming exactly like the rich man was behaving to Lazarus. And, just as the steward was to be put out of his stewardship, and was commended for taking action in the nick of time to prevent total disaster, so the Pharisees, and anyone else tempted to take a similar line, are now urged to change their ways while there is still time. All Jesus is asking them, in fact, is to do what Moses and the prophets would have said. As Luke makes clear throughout, his kingdom-mission is the fulfillment of the whole story of Israel. Anyone who understands the law and the prophets must therefore see that Jesus is bringing them to completion. (N.T. Wright)

How do some people, perhaps ourselves included, end up becoming self-absorbed and finding security in material things which ultimately rob us of our face, our human face? This is what happens when we become complacent, when we no longer remember God. “Woe to the complacent in Zion”, says the prophet. If we don’t think about God, everything ends up flat, everything ends up being about “me” and my own comfort. Life, the world, other people, all of these become unreal, they no longer matter, everything boils down to one thing: having. When we no longer remember God, we too become unreal, we too become empty; like the rich man in the Gospel, we no longer have a face! Those who run after nothing become nothing – as another great prophet Jeremiah, observed (cf. Jer 2:5). We are made in God’s image and likeness, not the image and likeness of material objects, of idols!  (Pope Francis)


There’s Someone at the Door

In the annals of charity undertaken by religious figures, the church in North America can point with great satisfaction to a number of stellar examples.  Among Catholics, I think of the Philadelphia heiress, St. Katharine Drexel, who founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and placed her fortune at the service of African American and Native American peoples.  Among many other things, she  founded Xavier University of Louisiana in 1925, the United States’ only historically black Roman Catholic institution of higher education.  Closer to home, there’s Ven. Fr. Nelson Baker, a priest of the Diocese of Buffalo, founder of a “city of charity” that included by the time of his death in 1936 an infant home, a home for unwed mothers, a boys' orphanage, a hospital, a nurses' house, and a grade and high school.  These continue on as the Our Lady of Victory Charities and Human Services.  

North of the border, there was St. Margaret D’Youville, founder of the Grey Nuns, who opened the General Hospital of Montreal in 1747 and St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, founder of the Notre Dame Sisters of Montreal, which educated young girls, the poor, and children of First Nations until shortly before her death in early 1700.  

Despite such heroes of charity, I venture to say not one of them would be able to do what they did today — in education, health care, service to the poor — and for the simple reason that the State has taken over much of what had been the traditional purview of the church.  That and the complexities of life today would make founding any of the institutions I mentioned above nearly impossible in the developed world.  

Of course, there will always be a place for the many charities, large and small, that operate under church auspices — often unsung.  Catholic Relief Services alone had nearly a billion dollars in revenue in 2021 with 95% going to its various programs throughout the world while Catholic Charities in the diocese where I live is the largest provider of family services in the region with an annual budget of $95 million.  Countless congregations and other organizations of all denominations render service via soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and hospices. 

But the grand institutions of the past, so often spearheaded by vowed religious, has seen its day.  That’s one reason the church has turned to public policy advocacy with the ever-growing body of Catholic social teaching as guide.  Issues ranging from racism, to labor relations, to welfare reform, to just wages, to climate change, to health care, have all have been the topic of countless statements emanating from offices of the hierarchy, both collectively and individually.  For those interested, one may consult https://www.usccb.org/offices/justice-peace-human-development and, in Canada, https://www.cccb.ca/justice-and-peace.  

 I dare say all of this teaching and advocacy is a way of identifying the form Lazarus is taking today, sitting by our door, so often ignored by the wealthy and privileged classes — those whom the prophet Amos aptly describes as, Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches (I).  And perhaps Lazarus’ clearest guise in the United States can be found in those many people at the “door” of our southern border seeking relief from poverty and political oppression.  What more timely gospel could we have then in light of the latest spectacle of how such people are being treated?  

Mind you, it has been reassuring to hear the voices of several bishops raised in protest at the latest maneuvers by politicians — though one might wish Catholic politicians would be called out by name with the same zeal others have been for their non-compliance with Catholic teaching.  After all, the magisterium of Pope Francis has been insistent in its calls for the humane treatment of refugees and immigrants.  Nevertheless, here are a few such voices:

"To use migrants and refugees as pawns offends God, destroys society and shows how low individuals can (stoop) for personal gains.” (San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García) 

“The degrading disrespect with which immigrants are treated in this country -- like pawns in games of political showmanship -- is a disgrace…. Are we so drunk on our own power that we are blind to basic human dignity? Judgment on Christians who disrespect the poor will be most severe.”  (Brownsville Bishop Daniel E. Flores)

“Reports of Florida involvement in transporting migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard are disconcerting…. [Migrants are] not faceless numbers -- but human persons…Any action to transport persons under false pretenses and leave them stranded with no assistance would be to diminish their human dignity and objectify them….The broken immigration system is a problem; but immigrants themselves are not ‘problems.” (Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski)

So while names such as St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, St. Théodore Guérin, St. Damien of Molokai, St. Marianne Cope, Bl. Mary Frances Schervier, Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos — sainted heroes of charity who worked in the United States  as well as St. Marie of the Incarnation, Bl. Marie-Léonie Paradis, Bl. Mary Catherine of St. Augustine, Bl. Marie Anne Blondin, Bl. Émilie Gamelin — who ministered in Canada — while such people may belong to the annals of charity in times past, Christians today are no less obliged to keep faith forever, secure justice for the oppressed, give food to the hungry , set captives free, give sight to the blind, raise up those who are bowed down, love the just, protect strangers, sustain the orphan and the widow (cf. RP) — lest out own wanton revelry be done away with (I).  


Intercessions (Archdiocese of Kingston)

For the Church, called to share the riches of the Gospel in both word and deed; and for increased compassion and aid for the millions of refugees and a heartfelt welcome to those who come to live in our midst.

For a concern on the part of world leaders to heed the plight of refugees and migrants; and for people and nations experiencing storms in Japan, Porto Rico and the Caribbean.

For the poor, needy and refugees who dwell at our gates; and for leaders in the pursuit of peace in government, industry and society.

For the sick and home-bound and all those facing pain and agony; and for the dying.

For the physical and spiritual well-being of all in this community; for all who have died in Christ recently, for our loved ones and for the intentions we bring to this Mass.

O God of justice,
hear our cry and save us.
Make us heed your word to the prophets;
rouse us to the demand of the gospel
and impel us to carry it out.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Hymn

Communion Antiphon

Closing Hymn